Updated: Oct 5
I know I have done a little backsliding in the past few months. I tend to get a little road rage-y a little too easily (I know, I seem so sweet and adorable to the untrained eye).
When I am scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and I see somebody's angry post I feel that reactionary irritation boiling back up.
Pre-quarantine I made an intentional determination to scroll on by angry posts whether I agree with them or disagree with them. Now that our entire social life is online and we're going through an unsettling time I keep catching myself behaving a little less intentionally. I suppose that it will feel good to argue. (It never does. It feels awful and solves nothing.)
I can see on social media that this is true for others too. Anger, fear, anxiety, envy -- all the negative emotions that separate us from one another are sent into hyper-drive while we are feeling so uncertain.
Which made me give myself a "scroll on by" challenge.
Please join me, I think we'll be better off and we'll still be able to love the people in our lives who hold different opinions than our own.
What should we avoid and "scroll on by"
- Any articles or posts with mean name-calling like "Can you believe these idiots, morons, stupid jerks, ..." Name-calling is just clickbait and there is no need to waste any emotional energy on it.
- Any articles or posts that have unfounded accusations like "X,Y or Z has done nothing to help x group..." It is easy to do especially if you're criticizing a celebrity or someone famous enough to seem fictional. (Famous people are people too.)
-Political opinions -- I mean, even if you agree with the person it is only going to get you both angrier and angrier. We will see people again soon. We love our friends -- anger over politics will not improve our friendship (whether we agree or disagree).
-Any article or post that makes statistical claims without citing sources. -- reposting without researching is common. We've all done it because we assume the original poster did the research. That isn't a safe assumption. It is becoming very clear that false information travels far and wide when assumptions are made. Scroll on by!
Replace all of that with these actions:
-- A moment of gratitude for all of the good things in your life --even just one thing -- even if it is small like a sunny sky or a cup of coffee.
-- Post articles (well researched ones, of course) about the people who are helping, contributing, and doing their part to help. Like Mr. Rogers said, "Look for the helpers."
-- Find out how you can help. It may just be a phone call or FaceTime to check on your people. Check on the elderly in your life. Check on the recovering addicts in your life. Check on people with a bunch of kids (they need you!) Offer whatever support you can -- encouraging words, a listening ear, money, food, sewing skills (shout out to all of my FB friends who are making masks -- there are sooooo many of you talented folks out there helping!) Whatever is within your power to do, do that.
-- Research anything you share. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful? If those are all yeses, share away!
As always, I am going to share some book ideas that can help us stay positive, stay helpful, stay part of the solution. I've got some podcast recommendations as well.
Please write me back or comment on this post with more ideas to keep your mental habits healthy ones during times of stress.
Helpful Podcasts: On Being with Krista Tippet; The Jordan B. Peterson podcast; Oprah Super Soul conversations; Brene Brown's Unlocking us podcast.
(*the following are paid affiliate links)
One of these days I'll be able to get those links in a straight line. In the meantime, the above, clickable links are Jordan B. Peterson's 12 Rules for life, Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy, Scott Adams' Loserthink, and Marie Forleo's Everything is Figureoutable.